The concourse of the concert of bands did not take place, probably because the various philharmonic bands did not reach the capital in time, and owing to this lack of time they could not practice. The sailing races were cancelled since we had no proper boats for this, nor did any foreign ones appear for the contest. The remainder of the programme was carried out.
THE RIFLE RANGE
The contest finished at 1 p.m. and the crowds withdrew happily, congratulating the winner.
MARATHON CYCLE RACE
At 17 minutes past 12, in front of a good many inquisitive onlookers who had collected, the cyclists start at the sound of the pistol shot, from the starting point in Kifissia Avenue opposite the Evangelismos Hospital, and are lost as arrows in, the depth of the street. They gobble up the distance, passing by inns, through villages, without stopping. Constandinidis, who became the hero of the day arrives first at Marathon in one hour and fifteen minutes, he signs the protocol in haste, which the representative of the Committee is keeping there, and immediately starts the return. Goedrich arrives second, and the others in turn. But in the return while they are cycling at short distances from each other various dramatic episodes occur. The bicycle of Constantinidis suffers damage and becomes unusable. The Englishman Battel, who follows him thus passed him. But Constantinides borrows another bicycle from a pace-making friend and cycling furiously catches him up a few kilometres before Athens. Luck, however, continued to be unfavourable for this intre-pid cyclist. At the turning of Kifissia Avenue into Herodes Atticus he skids, falls in the mud and is injured; yet he is not discouraged. He seizes the bicvcle of another of his accompanying friends, and with vertiginous speed catches up Battel who has passed him in the meantime. Battel, exhausted and tired out falls from his cycle in the Phaleron road, while his opponent, continues towards the Cycle Track.
The crowd that arrives is dense owing to it being Sunday, it had closed Kifissia Avenue to Ambelokipi, awaiting the return of the cyclists from Marathon. On their appearance it bursts into shouts encournging those who pass by. At Phaleron again plentiful onlookers had foregathered, wishig to share in the emotion of anticipation and see the arrival of the winner. The circular platform is full of spectators, while many other sightseers stand around. The Royal Family with its official quests, having arrived at 3. p.m. awaits at its special stand, while they are entertained by the music. Finally lively cheers are heard from outside. Constantinides, covered with mud as is natural from his repeated falls arrives first at the finish. He is an Olympic winner. He has covered the distance in 3'2" 31. The Greek flag is hoisted on the mast and floats for the first time as winner at the Cycle Track. There follows, though on a smaller scale that which happened on Friday at the victory of Louis at the Stadium. There is an indescribable burst of enthusiasm. Goedrich arrives second, coming 20 minutes after Constantinidis. Third is Battel, badly bruised from his fall.
THE TORCH PROCESSION
The place for meeting had been fixed in the wide and long Athenas Avenue, and the time for starting at 9 p.m. But long before that the people had foregathered in thousands in the streets and squares, shinning with lights, so that they could take up suitable positions to see the procession. After 8 p.m. the crowd in the central parts is suffocatingly dense, while communications become difficult.
In spite of this the bodies which are to take part in the torchlight procession continually foregather in Athenas Avenue. The cavalry company which is to proceed in the vanguard of the procession is placed at the Omonia Square end of the Avenue. After that the men of the various bodies of the Athens garrison are placed in order, cavalry, artillery, sappers, about a thousand in number. Then there are a great number of men from the infantry. The soldiers carry beacons and pine-wood torches, which will be lit, at the moment they start. Soon to the strain of bands the pupils of the gymnasia arrive carrying multicoloured Venetian lanterns fixed to the end of poles. Following this the wave of two thousand students of the University flows from Omonia Square, also bearing lanterns attached to the ends of poles and with difficulty array themselves behind the infantry. After the pupils and the students the sailors from the Navy are arrayed, then the civilians, members of the guilds, etc. When the torches were lit the whole of Athenas Avenue is lit from end to end and constitutes a fine sight.
At nine o'clock two bugle calls are heard. It is the signal for attention. All are arrayed ready, the soldiers in fours. The third bugle call is heard and this vast illuminated mass sets forth. The van is taken up by the cavalry company, then the garrison band followed by the military then the students with the Philharmonic band of Corfu in front of them. They are followed by the guards of the stadium in their red tunics and white helmets, bearing the flags of all the countries who have competitors in the Olympic Games. Then other bodies follow led by philharmonic hands, those of Laurion, Leucas, another from Corfu, from Cephallonia, from Zakynthus, the philharmonic band of Athens, the naval band.......... The whole of this endless procession enters Stadium street and the sight is incredibly fine. The illuminated arches, which become smaller as they recede into the distance, becoming parallel arches extending to the depth of the horizon, the illuminated and flagbedecked houses, that fiery river of torches, the thousands of lanterns that are being swayed, and the dense crowds on the pavements alltogether make a sight of magic phantasmagory, while there is a strong reflection in the air, as if there is a fire. The shinning torrent, advances to the sound of the marches of the bands which play continuously to the sound of cheers. It reaches Constitution Square, which by its lit arches, its illuminated little garden and the thick crowd in it, makes another most harmonious picture. The procession then procceeds towards the Square of the Palace and passes below the Palace. The whole of the Royal Family, King Alexander of Servia, the Grand Duke George and their retinues admire the majestic sight from the marble balcony of the Palace, while the courtiers foregather at the propylaea. As the bands pass, in front of the balcony they play the National Anthem; the soldiers and the other torch-bearers cheer, the Royal Family and the other foreign officials salute with emotion. The procession of these ten thousand men continues endlessly, and while the vanguard has already proceeded down the opposite street to Constitution Square, the tail is still at the Omonia Square end of Stadium Street. The endless illuminated flood then pours into Aeolos Street, where the windows and balconies are filled with spectators, and thence, through Omonia Square they come up University Avenue. The procession halts there in front of the University, and around 11 p.m. is dissolved, the soldiers returning to their barracks to the echoes of the bands, while the public returns home.
BANQUET AT THE PALACE
The time for arrival indicated on the invitations was 11.30 a.m. The King entered the Hall and the Corfu Philharmonic, which was drawn up, played the national anthem and the Olympic one by Samaras. The King sat at the centre of the table wearing an admiral's uniform, having on His right Prince George and on His left Prince Nicholas. The Crown Prince sat opposite having on His right President of Parliament Zaimis and on his left the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Skouz´es, both of them members of the twelve membered Council of the Olympic Games. Her Majesty the Queen, being indisposed, did not appear.
At the end of the meal the King arose and speaking in French, addressing Himself to the visitors, said the following:
I "Let me tell you, Gentlemen, the joy we have all felt at seeing you come to Greece to take part in the Olympic Games. Through the welcome that the population has extended to you, you will have been able to judge for yourselves how happy the Greek people was to receive you. I also take advantage of this opportunity to convey my warmest congratulations to the victors. In a few days you will be leaving to return to your respective countries. I do not bid you good-bye, I say to you au-revoir here once more. Reserve, I beseech you, a kind remembrance, and do not forget the enthusiastic, emotion that all felt at the arrival of the Marathon winner in the stadium. Unfortunately the Queen is indisposed; she regrets that she could not be present to-day. She has asked me to convey her greetings to you all. I drink to your health and repeat My sincere thanks.
Lively cheers in every language interrupted every sentence of the King's toast. When after a fair time silence had been resumed, the King, rising again said th!e following in Greek:
"The revival of the Olympic Games in their classical cradle has been crowned by full and unexpected success, and I am happy to-day in congratulating all of you who have worked to bring about this fine result (Cheers).
"These thanks I grant in the first place to your President, the Crown Prince, who conscientiously presided this work with perseverance and with tireless toil brought it to a conclusion. Disregarding all the obstacles and all the objections brought forward, led you to success, because He was inspired by the love of His motherland and He was convinced that He was working for an objective of the greatest national benefit (Prolonged cheers). Yet equally I extend the thanks of the nation and of Myself to the great benefactor of the nation, George Averoff, who, generously as always, so too in the expenses of the restoration of the stadium, proved himself a second Herodes Atticus, and contributed above all to the success of the work (cheers also for Averoff).
"I also extend thanks to the Princes George and Nicholas, who organised and carried out the Games, in the firm conviction that they were executing a patriotic work, and especially to Prince George, who also as President of the Committee of judges, worked with the greatest devotion. The same thanks I also extend to the indefatiguable General Secretary Mr. Philemon, who even at the sacrifice of his health worked with enthusiasm and unquenchable zeal (Lively cheers).
"Gladly I also extend My thanks to the Members of the various committees, as also to the champions who distinguished the Games. Greeks and non-Greeks, all those who honoured the Greek arena. The foreign athletes who will be leaving Greece, will he heralds, I feel sure, conveying the progress of the land and of the great works, which were carried out in the very short time for the success of the Games (Cheers).
"Greece, the mother and the nursery of athletic contests in the Panhellenic antiquity, undertaking and carrying out these to-day with courage under the eyes of Europe and of the New World, can now, that, the general success has been acknowledged, hope that the foreigners who honoured it will appoint our land as a peaceful meeting place of the nations, as a continuous and permanent field of the Olympic Games.
"With this wish, Gentlemen, I drink especially to all those who contributed to the success of this First Olympiad."
These fine words of the King kindled general enthusiasm and the cheers of those present reached heaven. At the wish of the Sovereign Mr. Philemon replied by eloquent sentences, happily inspired, moving the King and the others listening even to tears. Afterwards the French journalist correspondent of the Figaro, Mr. Hugues le Roux, made a spiritual and enthusiastic toast, and after him the correspondent of The Times of London spoke. Following this, on a signal from the King, all rose from the table and repaired to the neighbouring room where coffee was offered. Here the King spoke with all present. He conversed wilh most especial sympathy with Louis and reserved particular solicitude for his aged father. The gathering was dissolved around 3.30 p.m.
The words of the King created a most favourable impression, especially the idea which he stressed both in French and in Greek that Athens have the right to be the permanent headquarters of the Ollympic Games.
The words of Mr. Philemon, in replying to the Royal toast are worth recording. Philemon said in an unprepared speech, the following:
"The diamonds which dropped from Your mouth a few moments ago, Oh King! shine with such brilliance that they could not he dimmed by the most outstanding eloquence. Perharps they can be enhanced by sincerity and enthusiasm. This moment you have shown that You well understand the great title that You bear, that You are King not only of the Greeks within Greece, but of the Greeks living in the still irredeemed lands and those residing everywhere on the earth's surface.... I thank God that before I breathe my last He granted that I should see such a day."
The eloquent toast that Mr. Hugues le Roux read was as follows:
"It is not only for those of my blood and of my race that I crave permission to lift my glass. It is for all of us that You have brought together and welcomed. All of us brought, here this wish:"Provided that one of ours wins the Marathon Cup!"
"Yet, when we saw at the end of the stadium, that peasant appear who was arriving first, there was not one of us, of whatever nation he may happen to belong, who did not thrill with joy. We felt that the Greek earth had run below its son to bring him victory. It had to be that it was a Greek who might come and say: "Forget that which divided you. The barbarians have been repulsed. Civilisation triumphs for a second time."
"At that moment when Your two sons took that child of Greece in their arms, when they introduced him to you, Sire, there were no longer in the stadium neither Greeks nor foreigners; there were only Your subjects"